SALT LAKE CITY -- The Mormon church has a new campaign to encourage its members to be more compassionate toward gays and lesbians. Church authorities insist they aren't changing the Mormon teaching that same-sex relationships are sinful.

However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it wants to foster more understanding of homosexuality among Mormons and a more civil conversation about the issue. The LDS church is making the push through a new website leaders launched Thursday.

Mormons faced intense criticism after church leaders helped fund the fight for California's Proposition 8. The 2008 ballot measure put in place a ban on gay marriage. Church authorities said they were stunned by the backlash. Since then, the church has been trying to reach out to gays and lesbians to heal tensions.